Mon State’s Only Muslim Electoral Candidate Speaks Out on Disqualification

Monday, September 7, 2020

Maung Maung, an electoral candidate for a Mon State parliamentary seat in Kyaikmayaw Township, has said that his subsequent disqualification by the local election commission is a result of religious discrimination.

“I am the only Muslim electoral candidate registered to run in the Mon State election. I am the only one who was disqualified from the coming election,” he told NMG. “In my opinion, I was discriminated against because I am a Muslim.”

Maung Maung was registered as an independent candidate, but the election commission disqualified him last month, alleging that his father was not a citizen of Burma when Maung Maung was born in 1972.

He has denied this claim, stating that his father had national identification documents and there are records of his citizenship status from his student days.

“He is not in line with Article 8(b) and Article 10(e) of the election law. That’s why he was disqualified from the election,” Htin Kyaw, the head of the Mawlamyine District Election Commission, told NMG.

The statutes disqualify people from running for election if one or both of their parents were not citizens of Burma.

Maung Maung describes the decision as a violation of his rights.

“I have been deprived of my rights as a citizen, and my rights as an electoral candidate, because I cannot file any complaint regarding this. I cannot appeal it. I think they did it intentionally,” he told NMG.

The 47-year-old was formerly a member of the ruling National League for Democracy party, but resigned earlier this year before registering to run for election as an independent candidate.

A total of 302 candidates are registered to contest the coming election on November 8 in Mon State.